CEO Message: Eamonn Salmon

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The Covid-19 pandemic has been particularly challenging for our members this past year with the implementation of the strict yet necessary medical protocol, causing huge changes to working practices. Yet some of these changes are likely to stay even as football returns to its “new normal,” since the more imaginative and innovative ideas may have inadvertently improved certain areas of practice.

This has been a period of considerable change for the FMPA but one that has in fact been enlightening, creating un- foreseen possibilities as we move forward.

While our focus on members has always been paramount, this became even more important in the early stages of lockdown. Communication was key at a time of grave uncertainty and even fear and we had to deliver the much needed information and support that was desperately needed by our members

This is why our early efforts to signpost our members to information on furlough, financial advice, employment law both written and via podcasts, legal support, and the establishment of a 24 hour mental health hotline were such a success. Our lines were open 24/7 and used not infrequently.

This connection with our members also confirmed that in times of need, it is the FMPA that members turn to for clarity and guidance, reassured by the knowledge that we are fully aware of and engaged with the fabric of the football environment and have our members best interests at the core of what we do.

Such confirmation meant our focus necessarily sharpened and further strengthened our resolve to ensure that our voice is heard and respected throughout the professional game.

Our forthcoming Conference will now be a virtual event this year and while we will miss the face to face contact we all enjoy, our reach will be increased substantially and go way beyond our shores as we connect with like-minded bodies in world football.

Zoom meetings, rotating of staff in the office and home working are all new to us but these have bought huge benefits in terms of expediency of communication and efficiency.

The FMPA magazine has made an unscheduled move to an online version only, yet this transition has been seamless and accepted by members who are perhaps more familiar with accessing all matters in a digital format.

Our podcasts have been a huge success as we focus on our members and colleagues who have a message or experience or vision they are happy to share. Audiences are rising rapidly.

As the vaccination process is rolled out there is now a sense of cautious optimism. This provides all of us with the opportunity to look forward and to embrace some of the changes that have, through necessity and invention, become part of our lives.

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or presentarecertaintomissthefuture. JohnFKennedy